Under national scrutiny after a number of recent arrests of teachers and aides, the chancellor of the New York City public schools, Dennis Walcott, has ordered a review of cases of teacher misconduct. But his direction parallels yet another teacher’s arrest and for many is too little, too late.
This week’s arrest saw Reserve Officers Training Corps teacher Darryl Lynch, a teacher at Manhattan’s High School of Graphic Communication Arts, taken from school and charged with sexually touching a 14-year-old female student. Mr. Lynch worked at the school since 1997.
Given the recent arrests for child sexual abuse, Chancellor Walcott’s call for a new policy signals an encouraging change. As part of this new policy he vowed to remove teachers upon first notice of an allegation of sexual misconduct. However, Chancellor Walcott also called for review of what the New York Times said were “all substantiated cases of misconduct dating back to 2000,” and the subsequent removal of teachers who had engaged in sexual misconduct.
One cannot help but wonder why teachers with substantiated cases of misconduct were not removed immediately following the substantiation of an abuse allegation; or better yet, immediately following an allegation, as would occur under the new policy. We’re glad something is being done but we have to ask- how many arrests does it take to put children’s safety first?